This is Yahoo’s chance to take back the RSS feed supremacy
Google is not just the biggest online search engine, it is also the biggest online RSS feed service, or was. The search engine company has announced it was shutting down the RSS feed service for reasons that had to do with a decline in usage. So the feed will be completely shut down on the 1st July of this year. Does that mean web enthusiasts are not interested in RSS feeds anymore?
Let’s admit that RSS feed is quite old technology and Google jumped into the business about 7 years ago but it couldn’t turn this useful tool into something really lucrative and considering the other avenues available the search company has decided to rather spend its precious resources in areas much more promising.
The fact remains that more than 10,000 users signed a petition begging for Google not to kill the Reader. Even if Google doesn’t change its mind about it we can still see that there is quite a significant number of users that still used the RSS feed. Fortunately Google added a feature that allows users to export their feed and subscription elsewhere, but where?
There are many other small online companies out there offering RSS feed but if there is one that still has the resources to win a big audience, that would be Yahoo. Actually Yahoo has an RSS feed service too, except that, just like Google, it didn’t invest so much in it and it currently still looks like the old style design of the year 2003.
Yahoo may not be as popular as the good old time but it still remains the 3rd most popular search engine and it is trying a comeback. Yahoo is certainly trying to find ways to bring back its old cherished users. Why not improve the RSS feed.
The Tech Company will have to do some serious update on the feed. In the year 2013, the newspaper style design doesn’t make any sense when users are used to Twitter feed. In this age users are much less interested in the source of the information they read and much more in the title. To bring back users, Yahoo will have to get rid of the rectangle style displaying news from different sources and adapt a Facebook-like news feed style. And nobody care about the weather forecast at this point.
Now that Google is leaving the RSS feed world, a huge opportunity presents itself to Yahoo, the chance to take it back. This is the time to make something out of the old RSS feed and turn it into an incredible product that will quickly make users forget that Google reader had ever existed.
Yahoo could even try to be a bit more bold and educate other users that were not into RSS feed and get them onboard. It could integrate an ‘Add to RSS’ prompt on which users could hover their mouse and a window will popup to explain how the RSS feed could help track many news sources in one convenient place. This strategy could even bring onboard those readers who never really knew what RSS was all about.
One mistake that Google did was never to take the time to explain to users the real use of RSS so it remained a tool for professionals, even though it could have been useful to the average user too. Yahoo can push that ticket a little bit further, it might be worth it in the long run.
RSS feed can still be useful in the mobile age, it is just a matter of making some tweaks to it. In most cases when we check the news through our phone, they appear more in the form of headlines which is just how RSS feeds would appear too.
Yahoo has already been able to snatch an important player from Google. That is Marissa Mayer who was previously a key executive working for the big search engine. She is now the CEO of Yahoo. Ever since Mayer became part of Yahoo, there have been a lot of restructuring going on in the company. Now that Google is leaving an empty space online, that could be the chance for Yahoo to offer a viable mobile RSS experience.
Yahoo does has a shot. If it succeeds in bringing RSS back to life, Google might decide to redeploy its resources back to RSS too. That is probably quite unlikely, the search giant now has many other lucrative avenues to pursue and it prefers to focus it resources on that. Google won’t mind ceding a piece of the small market to little players.